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Club engages in horseplay

Eileen JoyceHindi Greenberg of Nevada City files wooden pegs on a rocking horse Monday. Greenberg is a member of a local woodworking group that is building rocking horses for waiting rooms at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Late last spring, a group of woodworking enthusiasts – all newcomers to the area – wondered what they could build together.

A member of the Welcome Wagon’s woodworking group, retired shop teacher Jon Borad suggested building a series of rocking horses like the one he bought at an antique store in Grass Valley for his granddaughter.

Sixteen of the horses have been built, and all but one of them have been promised to various charity organizations, Silver Springs High School and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. One will be raffled off in December by Welcome Wagon members to raise money for charities.



The first ones were delivered two weeks ago. The last four should be delivered next week.

“It turned out to be more difficult than we thought,” Borad said this week as eight members worked on the last four horses at his shop north of Nevada City.




One of the first tasks was to take the antique rocking horse apart to make forms for the head, torso, seat, tail, legs and rockers.

The goal was to make sure that each of the 16 horses – 38 inches tall and 46 inches long – are the same.

The other challenge was to construct a jig to assemble the pieces quickly. After all, the horses had to rock.

Bob Ignacio, a 64-year-old retired engineering manager from Sunnyvale who lives in Grass Valley, said he enjoyed the project. “It’s nice to have a group come together and do something for the community,” he said. “It’s also creative.”

Milt Schmidt, a 73-year-old retired high school administrator who moved from Sunnyvale to Grass Valley 15 months ago, said the group used 21/2 truckloads of construction scrap wood from work sites in Morgan Ranch, where he lives. (That was done with the contractor’s approval.)

The group includes members with varying skills. Borad said some members are very capable woodworkers, while others are beginners.

Hindi Greenberg, a 57-year-old legal-career consultant who lives near Nevada City, said she hasn’t done much woodworking besides building a table with a hand saw and hammer a couple of years ago.

“I just like woodworking,” said Greenberg, whose responsibilities included making the horses’ “manes” out of mop heads.

Yet even the more experienced members of the group said they learned by working on the rocking horse project.

Jerry Hall, 64, a woodworking enthusiast since he was 12, said he used a jig for the first time.

Work sessions like the one this week are also an opportunity for people to trade tips. “A lot of time, there is a lot more talking than woodworking,” Hall said.

Three of the 16 horses have been delivered to the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition. Executive Director Coral Bojanes was surprised to receive them. “What a great group!” she said of the volunteers.

One horse is in the waiting area at the group’s headquarters in Grass Valley, and another is at the women’s shelter in Grass Valley, she said. The third will be sold at a silent auction Nov. 2 at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building to raise money for the organization.

“They’re adorable,” Bojanes said of the rocking horses. “We’ve actually had big kids on them.”


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